Rackets, ball-boys and seeds were all in danger at the French Open yesterday, but ultimately most of the big names survived intact.
Novak Djokovic demolished his racket before eking out a third-round victory, and a ball-boy was accidentally flattened during world No 2 Alex Zverev’s latest flirtation with yet another early Grand Slam exit.
Both players were to recover, and in the case of Djokovic there appeared to be a cathartic element to the destruction of his implement, for which he was given an official warning.
Novak Djokovic celebrates during his 6-4 6-7 7-6 6-1 victory over Roberto Bautista Agut
Djokovic broke his racket during the course of losing the second set tiebreak
The Serb shows his frustration but he recovered to secure victory thereafter
His full Basil Fawlty eruption came at 6-6 in the opening tiebreak, which he was to lose, but thereafter he carved out a 6-4, 6-7, 7-6, 6-2 victory over Spain’s Roberto Bautista-Agut to make the last 16.
Djokovic lost his temper after missing a simple forehand that would have given him set point, and he came close to losing the third set when 5-3 down. He lives to fight on in his pursuit of the form that once put him out of sight of his rivals.
‘Trust me, in that moment when I do it, I don’t think how it can help me,’ he said of his tantrum. ‘It was a big point. In these kind of circumstances, sometimes emotions get the worst out of you, or the best out of you.
‘At times in my career when I would scream or throw a racket, it would